Nicolas Pepe, an Arsenal winger, revealed that his relationship with Mikel Arteta was never great. Pepe joined Arsenal in the summer of 2019 for a club-record amount of £72 million; Declan Rice’s impending £105 million transfer to the Emirates is projected to break that record. However, Pepe did not have the impact that was anticipated of him. The Ivory Coast international has 112 Arsenal appearances and 27 goals and 21 assists, although 50 of those came as a replacement since Pepe found it difficult to hold down a regular starting position. Although Arteta joined the Gunners four months after Pepe’s signing, and stories have long maintained that the two did not get along, Pepe has spent most of his Arsenal career under Arteta, despite having been first signed by Unai Emery.
“People claim that he saw me as a player who didn’t fit his team’s or his philosophy’s standards. It’s wholly untrue,” Arsenal winger Nicolas Pepe said about Mikel Arteta. “He brought [Manchester] City’s ideology with him when he came. He had backups and great players in every position on his team. He told me he relied on me, he wanted me to accomplish this or that, and I need to pay attention to that when he spoke to me. He made me better in every aspect. I constantly viewed films with his assistants while he spoke to me the entire time. He had a lot of faith in me. We must tap into the enormous potential he said I have.”
“At the end of the first season, he spoke with me and gave me instructions. I filled in when the second season started. I was going insane. How could I step in when he said he relied on me? Everything is making your head spin,” he added. “I substituted for [what felt like] ten separate matches. When that happened, they got Willian. He is a number 10 or a winger. But for around 11 or 12 straight games, he plays the wing. I turned my head, knowing that I had spoken with the coach and that it wasn’t going that way. However, things improved once he gave me a chance, and I scored against Sheffield United at the Emirates.”
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